Housing minister Caroline Flint has defended the government’s decision to force housebuilders to make all new homes fit for older people to live in from 2013.

Writing for Building in the first of a series of regular columns, Flint said housebuilders would have ample time to prepare for the change. She said: “Some have asked whether it’s appropriate to apply these standards to all homes. But actually, wider doors and bigger parking spaces are as important to young families struggling with unwieldy prams as they are for elderly people with wheelchairs. It’s far less sensible to continue to build homes that are difficult to adapt.”